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making against the taliban as well as al qaeda. as well as $800 million in assistance could be suspended. this could cause some major problems. if pakistan takes tougher action, the aid could resume. mean while, defense secretary leon panetta is in afghanistan. panetta is meeting with american military leaders and afghan officials. nbc's atia abawi is in kabul this morning. bring us up to speed on what leon panetta is saying that al qaeda is basically on the run and close to being completely stamped out. >> reporter: good morning, thomas. the new secretary of defense's first trip as the defense secretary here in afghanistan, prior to arriving he talked to reporters on the plane about how he feels alg al qaeda is going right now, the war against terror. he says the strategic defeat of al qaeda is within reach, primarily pointing the the death of bin laden, the information they got from the compound including names of different key al qaeda leaders. he says this is the time to actually end the war with al qaeda. let's listen to what he had to say. >> now is the moment following what happen
considered taliban-free forever, in fact, but this is also an area where two americans were killed. it goes to show you this is an area considered to be the safe part of afghanistan, but still we're seeing americans as well as nato forces dying. >> yeah. well, we don't like hearing that news. thank you for delivering it nonetheless. nbc's atia in kabul. >>> msnbc military analyst jack jacobs. good morning to you. >> good morning to you, alex. >> is this premature, even dangerous thinking on behalf of the new secretary of defense leon panetta saying we're going cloes to defeating laid? >> there's a lot of public relations involved. is he going to carry on a policy that was started before and expanded, and, of course, he is going to say after the killing of osama bin laden that, in fact, the thing is almost over. there's a lot of public relations involved. on the other hand, there's some truth in it too. al qaeda has been fragmented. that's a good news and the bad news, as we've said before, is al qaeda in iraq is al qaeda in the peninsula and yemen and africa and so on that means that we can
laundering and cross transit into afghanistan. it is operating as a portal for the taliban and al qaeda. why is iran doing this? probably not for idea logical reasons. they wanted to reach a deal and ever since then they have been holding this issue. there have been high ranking members that are allowed to live in iran. the question is what games do they want to play? >> they have different approaches and what does iran stand to gain by giving this safe passage to al qaeda? >> this is not idea logical. they are looking at the situation and maybe saying in terms of existential threats to the existence of the rezeem in tehran, what is the biggest threat? is it al qaeda or the united states? in the minds of the leadership right now, they see the u.s. as a greater threat than they do al qaeda. they can deal with it. the u.s. is a real threat. >> more next hour. many thanks. >> the syrian government is ratching up the crack down on activists ahead of the holy month of ramadan. syrian troops and tanks stormed the city before dawn today, killing at least 45 people in a borage of shelling and gunfir
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